Did you know there were different types of goals? There are task goals, habit goals and project goals.
Did you know that you need to have a different strategy for achieving each of these different types of goals? A task goal has a very different strategy then a project goal. A habit goal not only has a different way of achieving it but a completely different mindset to achieving this type of goal.
Are you ready for the lesson in goal setting no one ever taught you?
A task is something small that you’ve assigned yourself to do that requires one action step (or possibly a small series of action steps). For example, calling Singapore Airlines and complaining about my flight is a task that is in my calendar, set at a certain day and time. I make the call, they either fix it or not and I may or may not have to follow up. But it’s just one task. You might need to make an appointment with the dentist, go to the dentist and it’s done. Simple. Tasks are things you need to do that are best put into your calendar right away. As soon as you know you have to do something, make a decision on a date and time, record it in your calendar and then keep that appointment.
Habits are goals that we want to achieve that will bring about a change in who we are as a person. We don’t want to lose weight by a certain day and then start gaining it all back again the very next day. No! We want to lose weight for a lifetime. We don’t want to get just one promotion, we want to be the type of employee that is always getting promoted. We don’t want to have a certain amount of savings, we want to be the type of person who saves and invests forever. We don’t want to start going to the gym or start learning yoga only to stop on our “due date.” We want to be the person who gets up in the morning and does 108 Sun Salutations because it’s 5AM and that’s what we do at 5AM. Habits are just that, something we do without thinking. Most of us would love to have our BIG goals so unconsciously embedded in our brains that we just do them without the whining and complaining and the procrastinating. Wouldn’t that be nice? Yes, of course it would be! And that’s why you are working on whatever you’re working on for weeks and months on end so you can turn your goal into a habit. There’s no due date because you don’t need one. This goal you want is going to be a part of you, like your right arm. This is the “constant and never-ending improvement” type of goal.
Projects are goals that require dozens, hundreds, or thousands of tasks happening in some type of order that will get us to the conclusion of our project. Let’s say you have a project to find a new home and fixed it up. You go out and buy a home, paint the walls, replace the air conditioner, tile the floors and move in. There’s a lot of little tasks that need to be put in your calendar and managed so that you can do some tasks simultaneously while waiting on other tasks that might involve other people. Having a chronological flow to your series of tasks also ensures that you don’t miss a step and have to undo one task because something else needed to come first. For projects, it’s best that we look at the project from the end and work our way back to the beginning. When do we need to have the project completed by? What’s the half way point from now until the completion day? What milestone can we create at that half way mark? And what does 75% completion look like? And what about 25%? And what are the tasks that we can start doing now? Having 3 tasks in front of us at all times allows us to keep our momentum going while avoiding the overwhelm of all of the things we need to do.
If you take different approaches to each type of goal, you’ll succeed more often than if you take the same approach. Habits don’t really work if your mind believes that it can stop working on a goal after a certain due date. And projects don’t really work if you don’t have some type of understanding of when you need to have the project completed. And tasks don’t work if you don’t assign yourself a date and time to do them. They just sit on a to-do list and clutter your mind.
Create an easier life for yourself and plan your goals according to the type of goal you have.